Some UK landlords are refusing to take on tenants who are signed up to restrictive zero hour contracts, The Guardian reports.
Approximately 1.4 million UK workers are currently on this type of contract. As well as uncertainties about their income and working hours, with no fixed income to show landlords it is now becoming increasingly difficult for them to secure a tenancy.
Fergus Wilson, one of the country’s biggest landlords with a £100 million property empire, has stated that “no landlord in his right mind will accept tenants who do not have a guaranteed wage. No rent insurer will accept them.”
Kevin Green, a landlord with over 700 properties in Wales, agrees: “Obviously it is not a guaranteed employment contract and the employer can basically stop giving someone work when they want,” he stated. “For us it is not a guarantee of earnings.”
However, unlike Wilson, Green would offer a tenancy to a zero-hours worker if they could offer a guarantor who passed their credit checks. Other landlords and letting agents will also do this, or consider taking a six-month average wage into account; but an increasing amount are unequivocally ruling out people on these contracts.
According to Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Landlords Association, landlords try to minimise risks wherever possible. “If the individual’s proof of income showed that it could dip below the affordability threshold, a landlord would know there was a risk of the tenant getting into arrears,” he explained.
Labour MP Alison McGovern has campaigned for tighter controls on the use of zero-hours contracts. Not only do zero hours workers have financial insecurity, she explained, they also have increasingly little choice about where they can live.
Alongside colleagues, McGovern is supporting the right for workers to demand a fixed contract if they’ve worked regular hours for the same employer for six months; and to be upgraded to a fixed contract if they have worked regular hours for more than a year.